MiDAS is the Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme organised by the Community Transport Association which promotes a nationally recognised standard for the assessment and training of minibus drivers. It is a membership based scheme that has been designed to enhance minibus driving standards and promote the safer operation of minibuses.
Who is it aimed at?
MiDAS is applicable to any organisation operating or using minibuses. Member organisations range from small voluntary organisations operating one vehicle, to local authorities operating large fleets of minibuses.
How does MiDAS work?
MiDAS operates on a "cascade" approach. CTA has appointed a number of training agents, who provide training for minibus Driver Assessor/Trainers (DATs) nominated from member organisations.
A DAT can then assess the competence of other minibus drivers, and provide them with training on how to safely use a minibus.
What's involved in becoming a DAT?
In order to register as a DAT, a person has to undertake a thorough driving assessment (it is essential that they are able to drive to an ‘‘above average standard") and participate in a course lasting three days for standard minibuses and a further day for wheelchair accessible minibuses.
What's included in the DAT training course?
The course gives information and practical experience on how to undertake a minibus driving assessment in an objective and consistent manner, how to structure on-road assessments, provide "classroom based" safety training, and refresher training.
The safety training, which can be delivered on a group or individual basis, uses key learning points from a number of areas:
- Legal responsibilities of a minibus driver
- Passenger safety
- Child passenger safety
- Defensive driving
- Manual handling awareness
- Health and safety awareness
- Accident and emergency procedures
- Personal safety for drivers
Each DAT is given a comprehensive trainer's manual which includes all the information from the course, along with audio visual material needed to run the safety training sessions. DAT Certificates are valid for 2 years, after which refresher training is required.
What do drivers get out of this?
Drivers who successfully complete the MIDAS assessment and training programme will receive a nationally recognised certificate valid for 4 years, as well as the option of purchasing the comprehensive "Minibus Driver's Handbook".
Split the task - for example, one person could take on the responsibility for assessing drivers and another for training drivers; you can even enter into partnership with another organisation. Provided that all trainers and assessors are registered as DATs, the split of the workload can be tailored to suit each situation.
If you are unable to identify people from within your own organisation there is another option - getting a DAT from elsewhere to assess and train your drivers.
CTA holds a list of all member organisations and registered DATs, and should be able to put you in touch with a local MiDAS member.
If we wish to join, is there a membership fee?
No, organisations joining MIDAS will only be required to make the following commitment:
To assess and train all new drivers to the MiDAS standard from the date of joining,
To assess and train all existing drivers within a period on 12 months from that date (this may be extended in exceptional circumstances)
To allow drivers holding MIDAS certificates issued by other organisations, to drive your minibuses without the need for re-assessment -although local insurance conditions will always have to be fulfilled, and vehicle familiarisations undertaken.
Where can I get further information?
Full details about MiDAS and a list of training agents providing DAT courses is available from:
Community Transport Association UK
About the Community Transport Association
The Community Transport Association (CTA) is a UK-wide organisation that represents the interests of the community transport sector. CTA is the largest provider of training, advice and information on accessible, voluntary and community transport.
Regional training days and seminars on key transport issues are organised throughout the year.
The CTA operates a UK-wide Advice and Information Service funded by the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, the Scottish Executive, the National Assembly for Wales and the Department for Regional Development in Northern Ireland.
Rural development undertaken by CTA is currently funded by the Countryside Agency, the Scottish Executive, the National Assembly for Wales and the Department for Regional Development in Northern Ireland.
The CTA produces a wide range of publications including Community Transport magazine.
Email us: SHAW@walsall.gov.uk